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4 Stellar Sleep Incentives

Granted, it's not exactly easy for moms to get more zzz's, but a slew of studies show why it might be a good idea to bump up "sleep" on your to-do list. (Same goes for your kids) You'll feel better, of course, and get a whole lot more:

You'll be slimmer
Previous studies have linked a lack of sleep with obesity, but exactly why was a mystery-until now: Not getting enough shut-eye significantly lowers nighttime levels of grehlin, a hormone involved in appetite control, say UCLA researchers. Grehlin levels may rebound, and then some, during the day -- making you even more hungry.

You'll be nearly sniffle-free
Routinely logging fewer than seven hours a night makes people almost three times more likely to catch a cold than those who get eight hours, according to a new Carnegie Mellon University study. Restless sleepers have it worse: They're nearly six times more prone  to coming down with a cold. 

You'll be smarter
When you're short on pillow time, proteins build up in your brain, giving you that thick, fuzzy-headed feeling the next morning, say researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of  Medicine. These proteins also interfere with how the brain processes information, and affect your ability to learn the next day.

You'll be heart-healthier
If you spend fewer hours in bed than you ought to -- and toss and turn once you're under the covers-you could be at risk for high blood pressure, reports a new study from Penn State College of Medicine. Insomnia paired with short sleep duration increased cortisol levels and upped heart rates, both of which can lead to cardiovascular problems. The good news? We've got you covered with mom-friendly sleep strategies at Parenting.com/sleep!

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